In the heavy-duty pickup segment, buyers are known for their loyalty to their chosen truck brand. That said, the all-new 2017 Ford F-350 might be enough to cause some pickup owners to switch allegiances.
That's because the full-size F-350, along with the other two trucks that make up the Super Duty lineup (the F-250 and the F-450), has been thoroughly redesigned from the wheels up. Upgrades include a beefed-up frame, gutsier engines, more spacious cabins and a wide range of convenience and technology offerings, all intended to make the hard work these trucks are made for just a little bit easier.
To achieve this year's greater hauling and towing capacities, the automaker's Super Duty engineering team gave the F-350 substantially larger frame rails and crossmembers made of 95 percent high-strength steel. An integrated hitch receiver extends farther into the frame, making it possible to tow the heaviest conventional trailers without the hassle of using a special weight-distributing hitch.
Lightweight aluminum body panels (like those the F-150 received recently), which Ford says are more dent-resistant and hundreds of pounds lighter than those of the outgoing version, help to offset the frame's added mass. As a bonus, the F-350's cabs are longer than those of the previous generation, which helps improve passenger space and comfort.
Moving this Super Duty's bulk down the road is a choice of a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 or a turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel V8. Though these engines are similar to what was in last year's truck, Ford has revised them to produce more horsepower and torque.
The F-350's list of available technology includes several new features, including LED headlights and foglights, adaptive cruise control, and a seven-camera system that displays a handy 360-degree top-down view of the truck's surroundings. Towing-related technologies include a clever blind-spot monitoring system that covers the length of the trailer, a pair of rearview cameras that makes hooking up a fifth-wheel trailer as easy to connect a conventional one, integrated trailer tire-pressure monitoring and a trailer-mountable backup camera.
Of course, the F-350 isn't the only heavy hauler in the game. Both the Ram 3500 and the Chevrolet 3500HD (and its GMC Sierra 3500HD cousin) offer comparable payload and towing capabilities and equally desirable creature comforts. Even so, the all-new 2017 Ford F-350 Super Duty offers a number of advantages that make it uncommonly compelling.
Standard safety features on the 2017 Ford F-350 include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control and hill start assist. Front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags that cover both rows of seats are also standard. Inflatable rear seat belts are offered as an option on all crew-cab models. Ford's post-crash alert system is standard, as is the automaker's MyKey feature that allows owners to set restrictions for the protection of younger drivers.
Rear parking sensors are standard on Lariat and higher trim levels, while a rearview camera is standard on XLT models and above. A surround-view camera system that provides a 360-degree view around the vehicle is part of the optional Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System. This option package can also be had with an separate camera meant to be mounted on the customer's trailer and viewed on the in-dash display.
Other options include a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert and coverage for trailers up to 33 feet, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic wipers and automatic high-beam headlight control. Available trailer tire-pressure monitoring reduces the chance of a trailer tire blowout.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Ford F-350 Super Duty is a heavy-duty pickup offered in five trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum. It is also available in regular cab, extended-cab (a.k.a. SuperCab) and crew-cab body styles and with a choice of 6.75- and 8-foot bed lengths.
Base XL models come standard with a 17-inch steel wheels, black grille and bumpers, front tow hooks, manual front locking hubs (four-wheel-drive models), intermittent wipers, manually adjustable, telescoping towing mirrors, a removable locking tailgate with tailgate lift assist, a 2.5-inch trailer hitch receiver (with 2-inch insert), air-conditioning, vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front seat, vinyl floor covering, manual windows and door locks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a dual glovebox, an overhead console with storage bins (extended and crew cabs only), a driver information display and a four-speaker AM/FM audio system (six speakers in extended- and crew-cab models).
Step up the the XLT and you get 18-inch alloy wheels, a chrome grille and bumpers, manually telescoping and power-adjustable heated mirrors, four locking cleats in the bed, keyless entry, cloth upholstery, carpeted floor covering, rear under-seat lockable storage, power windows and locks, rear privacy glass (extended- and crew-cab models only), cruise control, a rearview camera, the Sync voice-controlled infotainment system, a 4.2-inch display, a USB port, a CD player and satellite radio.
Springing for the midrange Lariat trim level gets you bright-finished 18-inch alloy wheels, a shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system (four-wheel-drive models only), foglights, upgraded mirrors (power-folding and telescoping side mirrors, driver-side auto dimming, integrated LED spotlights), tubular side steps, a power sliding rear window, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, 10-way power front seats, a center console, power-adjustable pedals, a rear-seat center armrest, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an 8-inch center touchscreen, the upgraded Sync 3 voice-controlled infotainment system, two 110-volt household-style power outlets, and a premium Sony 10-speaker audio system with two additional USB ports.
The Western-themed King Ranch model, which is offered on crew-cab body styles only, adds unique alloy wheels, automatic high-beams, rain-sensing wipers, a body-color grille, accent-color bumpers and lower body trim, LED box lighting, unique fender badges, keyless ignition and entry, remote start, upgraded leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, driver memory settings, an easy-entry/exit driver seat, a power tilt-and-telescoping and heated steering wheel, and a navigation system.
Choosing the top-of-the-line Platinum model, again offered on crew-cab models only, gets you 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive steering, LED headlights, LED foglights, power running boards, a remote tailgate release, a built-in tailgate step, LED taillights, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, illuminated door scuff plates, multicontour front seats with massage, and a leather- and wood-trimmed heated steering wheel.
Many of the standard features offered on upper trim levels are offered as options on the rest of the lineup. Other noteworthy options include a sunroof, a fifth-wheel/gooseneck hitch prep package, a massive 48-gallon extended-range fuel tank, adaptive cruise control and collision warning with automatic braking, skid plates (four-wheel-drive models only), an Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System (a total of seven cameras), a separate rearview camera that can be mounted on a customer's trailer, trailer tire-pressure monitoring and a spray-in bedliner.
The 2017 Ford F-350 comes standard with a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 that produces 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. Also available is a revised version of the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8 that now puts out an impressive 440 hp and 925 lb-ft of torque.
Both engines are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is offered as an option. The F-350 is also available in both single- and dual-rear-wheel configurations.
Properly equipped, the F-350 is rated to tow conventional trailers up to 18,000 pounds when fitted with single rear wheels and 21,000 pounds with dual rear wheels, and neither case requires a load-equalizing hitch. The upper limit on fifth-wheel trailers is 27,500 pounds, and gooseneck trailers max out at a class-leading 32,000 pounds.
Payload ratings range from 4,470 pounds for a single-rear-wheel crew-cab 4x4 up to maximum of 7,630 pounds for an F-350 with a regular cab, dual rear wheels and rear-wheel drive.
The 2017 Ford F-350 Super Duty's more rigid frame and reworked suspension combine to make it feel more confident going down the road. Both handling and ride quality are noticeably better than in the outgoing model.
The standard steering offers a degree of precision that also helps the big pickup feel more responsive. Opt for the available adaptive steering and its variable-ratio mechanism improves responsiveness and makes the truck much more maneuverable at slow parking-lot speeds. Thankfully, it never becomes darty or nervous at highway speeds or when towing because the system responds more gradually in those circumstances.
Under the hood, the standard 6.2-liter gasoline V8 has enough muscle to make it an acceptable choice for most general applications. If there's heavy hauling or towing in your future, however, the available 6.7-liter diesel V8 is the way to go because its abundant torque delivers strong acceleration, laden or unladen.
The newly available adaptive cruise control makes long freeway slogs significantly easier by maintaining a set distance from the vehicle in front of you. More impressive is the fact that it can manage this feat while towing a heavy trailer and descending a hill; the downshifts of the transmission's Tow/Haul mode and the automatic engine brake on diesel models work together to keep speed under control.
Head off-road in a properly outfitted four-wheel-drive, single-rear-wheel F-350, and you'll find it will do surprisingly well over rugged terrain and obstacles. In fact, its off-pavement ability is significant enough that few owners will find themselves in situations that seriously challenge it.
Have a seat in the cabin, and you'll discover the 2017 Ford F-350 has a more spacious feel thanks to the larger all-aluminum body shell it now shares with the brand's F-150 pickup. To put its growth spurt into perspective, extended-cab models gain 6 inches in length and crew-cab models add 3 inches compared to the cabs of the previous-generation Super Duty.
As for the seats themselves, the 10-way power-adjustable front buckets, combined with the power-adjustable pedals on upper trim levels, make it easy to find a comfortable driving position. The multicontour front seats offered on high-end models take things a step further with heating, cooling and built-in massage action. Rear jump seats on extended-cab models are roomier than ever before but remain best suited to the young and limber. The rear seats on crew-cab models are noticeably more adult-friendly.
Interior finishes and materials range from basic to beautiful. The XL and XLT make do with more practical vinyl and cloth upholstery, respectively, while King Ranch and Platinum models are swathed in high-quality leathers. The same is true of standard amenities — top trim levels offer all the features you'd expect to find on a luxury sedan, and the base model sports old-school manual windows and door locks.
The cabin can also be filled with useful technology, such as the Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System, which features seven cameras, including a grille-mounted unit with a 180-degree field of view that's useful when trying to pull out of a street or driveway where visibility is limited. The system also includes cameras that give a 360-degree top-down view of the truck and its surroundings and two rearview cameras that make hooking up a trailer a snap. Also handy is a Trailer Reverse Guidance system that helps when backing a conventional trailer with a jackknife warning and even on-screen directions on which way to turn the steering wheel.
There are less techy but still clever details too, such as a lockable storage area under the rear seat that folds flat when not in use, a two-slot cupholder in the center console that slides sideways to accommodate two additional beverages, and an optional vehicle safe.
In the bed, all F-350 models use aluminum that is both 20 percent thicker than that used in the F-150 and backed by beefier crossmembers to stand up to more rugged use. Long-bed models also get a new 48-gallon fuel tank that promises to improve the truck's range between fill-ups.
edmunds expert review process
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